Credit: USA Today

James Harden has once again led the Houston Rockets to victory in a one-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Mavs Coach, Rick Carlisle, expected to see Harden dominate as he had some very high praise for last season’s MVP when he spoke to reporters before the game.

Carlisle described the Rockets guard as a “remarkable phenomenon” before delving into why he is such a challenge to stop.

“It’s a pretty remarkable phenomenon,” Carlisle said. “I don’t know if there’s ever been anything quite like this. They’re extremely effective. He’s extremely effective. It’s bringing new metrics into play and things like that. There’s a lot of people studying it, looking at it. The guy’s having another phenomenal year. And after a tough start at the beginning of the year they’re rolling. They’ve been dominant. To slow him down is a big challenge.”

Rick Carlisle is one of the more highly respected NBA coaches currently in the league so it’s certainly a massive compliment.

The reigning MVP has been completely unstoppable on offense this season, he is currently averaging 36.6 points per game, not to mention that Harden was on a run of 29 straight games of scoring at least 30 points.

One of Harden’s signature moves is the step-back three-pointer, Harden has made 171 out of 424 step back threes which is an impressive 40.3 percent. The Mavericks’ Luka Doncic has the second most behind the beard, making 50 step-back three’s out of 139 which equals 36 percent. Although his style may be a little like Harden’s, Carlisle doesn’t expect Doncic to mirror the way he plays.

“Luka has some great individual abilities. And I like the step-back shot for him,” Carlisle said. “He’s learned a few guys who really execute it at a high level and with consistency. Our style of play is going to be dictated by how our team is built, etc., etc. Having some of Harden’s abilities is a great quality. The extent to which we’ll play that way, we’re not doing much of it this year. In the corners, you see him isolated with the ball. But going forward, I think it’s important that our team has the right balance based on our roster.”

As the Mavericks season is all but done, the Houston Rockets are in another position for a long postseason run as they sit third in the Western Conference standings.

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